Botswana supermarket chain Choppies to seek South African listing

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JOHANNESBURG  – Botswana’s supermarket chain Choppies plans a secondary listing on the African bourse, it said on Wednesday, seeking to boost its profile among investors in Africa’s largest and most liquid stock market.

Choppies, which runs 125 stores in Botswana, and Zimbabwe, gave no indication of how much it will seek to raise from the offering but said the money would be used to down debt and fund expansion. It had total debt of 590 million Botswana pula ($59.9 million) at the end of last year, Thomson Reuters data shows.

The $482 million company, which already trades on the Botswana Stock Exchange, plans to nearly double its store numbers in existing markets and enter new countries such as Zambia, Tanzania and .

“We are well-positioned to expand our footprint to 200 stores in six countries by the end of 2016,” CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu said.

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Further expansion into the rest of Africa, where sales growth is about three times the rate in matured, saturated South Africa, would pit the Gaborone-based company against dominant South African retailers such as Shoprite and Spar Group .

in Choppies, which was founded in 1986, were flat at 4.06 pula at 0858 GMT.

($1 = 12.0105 rand)

($1 = 9.8425 pulas)